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Tom Thumb Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster apiculatus 'Little Gem'

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Tom Thumb Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster apiculatus 'Little Gem'

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Special Features
Zone Map
Bird Friendly
Fall Color

Botanical Name

Cotoneaster apiculatus 'Little Gem'

Outdoor Growing zone


Mature Height

Mature Width


Sun needs

Full Sun, Partial Sun



The Tom Thumb Cotoneaster is a charming ground-cover plant, which becomes a low, broad shrub, reaching 3 to 6 feet across, but staying less than a foot tall. It forms a mound of arching branches, each one densely covered with tiny green leaves, which color bright red in the fall. Pinkish-red flowers open all along the branches in spring, and sometimes there are red berries in the fall. This is an ideal plant for covering slopes, where it stabilizes the soil, and for growing among boulders, rocks, and in a rock-garden. It is also perfect for the foreground of shrub beds, where it will cover the soil and transition the planting onto a hard surface, like a driveway or terrace. It will also spill beautifully over walls.

  • Beautiful low mound of arching branches
  • Densely covered in tiny, glossy leaves
  • Spring flowers of pinkish-red
  • Ideal ground-cover for slopes and rocky places
  • Very low-maintenance and needs no trimming to stay low

Plant the Tom Thumb Cotoneaster in full sun or with no more than a few hours of shade each day. It grows best in well-drained, poorer soils, which will give the most compact and densest growth. It needs no trimming, so plant it with enough room for later growth, so that trimming is not necessary. Be especially careful when edging a bed that meets a lawn, as it will be hard to trim so that it doesn’t spill over the grass – hard surfaces are much better, and they will be beautifully softened by this plant. Pests and diseases are very uncommon, and rabbits normally leave it alone.

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